Random Posts

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Charles S. Stratton and Chess

    Charles Sherwood Stratton, aka General Tom Thumb, (1838-1883) was the most famous midget in history. See the Tom Thumb Exhibit at the Lost Museum HERE
     According to his contemporaries, he was “an excellent chess player for his size.” It was said that was because his opponents couldn’t distinguish between him and the pieces.  Problemist Sam Loyd claimed to have been his opponent in the only known game that he (Stratton) played. The game appeared in the book Brevity and Brilliancy in Chess by Miron J. Hazeltine. The game also appeared in The Philadelphia Times

What is known for sure is that Stratton did play chess. The following article appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sunday, December 29, 1878:

Tom Thumb is a big man in a small way, or it may be a small man in a big way. Our readers who feel interested in this phenomenal personage will be entertained by the article on the first page giving an account of an Eagle reporter's interview with him. The General may be cited as a fine illustration of the remarkably small compass in which a great deal of human nature may be packed. Among of other pieces of information communicated to the reporter is the statement that he, the General, stopped playing chess when his wife learned to beat him at the game. There is so much uncertainty as to his age that his lady friends who are curious as to such matters will be pleased to learn that he was born in the year 1838, and is consequently in the forty-first year of his age. 

The interview referred to can be read HERE

Aftermath of the Newhall House fire
Also of interest is the Newhall House fire in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was the original home of the Milwaukee Chess Club until the fire. The fire of the uninsured six-story wood frame building occurred January 10, 1883. The lives of 71 of the 300 people in the hotel were claimed. The fire started on the first floor and spread up the elevator shaft to all floors. Guests at the hotel at the time were Tom Thumb and his wife, both of whom escaped unhurt.

No comments:

Post a Comment